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The best coffee shops in London

Come and get your caffeine fix – and more – at these perfect parlours and great cafés across the capital

Leonie Cooper
Edited by
Leonie Cooper
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Londoners love coffee. In the summer, the city’s coffee shops are swarming with queues of thirsty commuters hankering for an iced latte. Come winter, and the rest of the year, hot coffee pumps through the veins of Londoners. These super spots are also great for the freelancers out there, acting as de facto offices – as long as you keep the rounds of cake coming. Whether it’s a flat white or an iced chai latte, the capital's cafés and coffee shops are churning out caffeine-laden cups. There are plenty of spots for speciality drinks too, like pumpkin, turmeric or matcha lattes. Read on for our top picks of London’s best coffee shops.

RECOMMENDED: Best breakfasts in London

Top places for coffee in London

Allpress Espresso Bar
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Shoreditch

Enduringly popular for its unhurried atmosphere, lovely service and great food, Allpress Espresso (aka the Redchurch Espresso Bar) also makes terrific coffee – from textbook espresso-based brews to various filter concoctions. Outstanding baked goods and imaginative sandwiches add to the all-round appeal of this winning corner spot, making it a fixture of the Shoreditch scene. The main Allpress roastery is now housed in a big café complex spread over two floors in Dalston.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Holborn

Catalyst is a serene and stripped-back Scandi-style drop-in with all-day appeal. Coffee-wise, the owners know their stuff, there’s a Diedrich roaster in the basement and the place is stuffed with barista gadgets. There’s some great food too (mostly veggie savouries, cakes and brunch classics), with regular pop-up dinners from the likes of Time Out's hottest chef 2023 Sertaç DirikMax from Max's Sandwich Shop and Sirichai Kularbwong from Singburi. What’s more, Catalyst opens early and closes late on Fridays, with a fair choice of cocktails, craft beers and wines.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • London Fields

Brown, buzzy and never overheated, Climpson’s on Broadway Market has the same qualities as its excellent flat whites, while helpful blackboard notes on the blends from its own roastery ram home the message: coffee first, conversation second. With retro cakes and avocado on sourdough also available, it’s perfect for Saturday afternoons and Monday mornings. Be warned: it gets overrun on the weekends. Climpson’s also has a coffee bar in Old Spitalfields Market.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Fitzrovia

Occupying a former men’s pissoir, Attendant’s coffee wakes you up before you go-go. Aromas of roast arabica and scented candles waft up from the subterranean cavern, which still boasts the original Victorian urinals (now used for seating). Beans are house-roasted and there are made-to-order sandwiches, hot snacks, and decidedly decent cakes too. Be warned – the place is tiny, and it’s regularly rammed. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Fitzrovia

A terribly chic Fitzrovia outpost for this south east Asian coffee chain. From Tokyo to London, come here to relish in the light wood interior and soak up some serious Japanese design. Grab a soothing matcha latte in the winter, and their outlandish iced cappuccino in the summer. Their kashi – a moreish cube of baked custard – makes for the perfect chaser. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Soho
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This historic Soho coffee shop was established in 1949 by Lou and Caterina Polledri, and quickly became a social hub for the Italian community in London. It remains popular with everyone from local media workers to vintage enthusiasts and mods on scooters, and despite several upgrades to the decor, much of the original fixtures still remain, from the red and white formica to the Gaggia espresso machine and the flooring. Night owls will be impressed too, as it's open until 4am. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Bloomsbury

Capacity doesn’t make it far into double digits at this small but perfectly formed shrine to straight caffeine. Choice may be limited too (artisan coffees from Caravan, teas, sandwiches, cakes and some brunch staples), but we love Bloomsbury’s Espresso Room, especially when we can sit outside in fine weather. Smiling staff show off their technical skills in the most modest way possible. ER’s flagship Holborn branch is licensed and there’s another outlet in Covent Garden.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Borough
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Monmouth is the grandmama of high-class coffee in London, and its pitch at the southern end of Borough Market is always heaving. There’s nothing flashy or trendy about its offer, but everything screams quality – from the artisan authenticity of the food (breads, pastries etc) to the enthusiasm of the expertly trained staff. Espresso and its derivatives are properly made, but brewed coffee (from the company’s outstanding range) is the real star. Also try Monmouth’s original shop in Covent Garden and its Bermondsey offshoot.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Shoreditch

A major hit with office workers around Silicon Roundabout, Kiwi-owned Ozone made a big deal of its ‘sustainable whole-cycle cooking’ from the very start and it’s become more serious with time. We also like its coffee: brewed, slow-brewed or single-origin. Also check the brew bar for more specialist sips. Ozone’s popularity has risen stratospherically – it’s crowded upstairs, but easier downstairs. 

10. Hermanos

Get the caffeine boost you need to plough through the stalls of Portobello Road at Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters.  Launching in 2018 in Walthamstow, the project of brothers Victor and Santiago Gamboa, their pink-painted joints are now a familar sight across London, with neighbourhood branches in Blackhorse Lane, Columbia Road, Barnes, Angel Lane, and more.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • London Bridge

Roasting Plant is a unique experience for sure, with coffee beans whizzing over your head through the tubes on the ceilings. It offers a custom encounter with their just-roasted technology using the Javabot - an in-store roasting and brewing system that freshly roasts coffee in every Roasting Plant café. They use micro-batches to prepare each cup to order; and allow you to choose your coffee beans from Jamaica to Peru, according to personal taste. Definitely try their bold house blend with their perfectly thin and chewy choc-chip cookie. As well as London Bridge, there are branches on The Strand and by Monument.

Serra Uner Contributing writer
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • St Paul’s

Although the Wren church of St Nicholas Cole Abbey was damaged during the Blitz in WWII, it’s still a striking spot, especially if you’re after some relaxation and a shot of heavenly espresso in a busy City precinct. Simple lunchtime sustenance features soup, salads, quiches and home-baked cakes. Coffee comes from Caravan Roasters, tea from the Brew Tea Co – so quality is assured. Note that the café closes every Thursday from 12.45pm to 2pm to host St Nick’s lunchtime talks.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • King’s Road

When it comes to coffee, Hagen knows what’s up. Their Danish coffee is delish and really wakes you up. Step into any one of the many cosy Hagen stores in London, perfect for socialising or even a touch of laptops-out co-working. Don’t forget to try their gluten-free sweet treats, especially the brownie which pairs perfectly with a flat white. But a heads up, they are quite popular, so prepare to face the crowds.

Serra Uner Contributing writer
The Fields Beneath
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Kentish Town
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Taking its name from a classic book on Kentish Town local history, this tiny neighbourhood drop-in is an enduring hit with caffeine-loving locals. TFB is now totally vegan: everything from the milk to the dhal to the cookies. Inside, there’s just one long(ish) table for communal sipping, but ample space for takeouts – all very handy for commuters spilling out from the station next door.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Tottenham

A lovely little spot with not only great brews for take-away and drinking in, but deli goods, bread, cake and fancy sarnies. Come for the flat whites, stay for the toasted croissant stuffed with goat cheese, fig and rocket. 

Chief Coffee
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Chiswick

Every London borough now seems fully caffeinated with sustainable, single-origin beans and cult blends, so any local contender needs to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Chief Coffee goes with... pinball machines. Load up on caffeine, cakes and Rinkoff ‘crodoughs’ in the ground-floor café (Workshop and Drop provide the beans) then take that chemical high downstairs to the subterranean lounge and reacquaint yourself with your ’90s self via old-school games such as Monster Bash or Cactus Canyon.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Covent Garden

Between Seven Dials (food heaven) and Leicester Square (food hell), Coffee Island is the first London outpost of a deceptively decent Greek chain with a passion for gadgets and home-barista gear. They’ve done their homework where it counts, with a range of coffees and a host of brewing variations – from Chemex and Aeropress to ‘cold drip’ and signature sips. Food runs from muffins, cakes and croissants to sandwiches, salads, charcuterie and smoked fish dishes.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • City of London

Seating here is limited to just six people and it isn’t big on comfort, but this is a City spot to cherish if you value well-curated coffee beans and expert brewing. The house espresso blend comes from Colonna, and guest roasters feature regularly (Square Mile, Tim Wendelboe, The Barn, among others). Food is simple but carefully done, with the emphasis on London-based producers. A steady stream of City workers keeps this tiny treasure buzzing with takeaway orders.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • London Fields

Now with spots in Shoreditch, White City and Notting Hill, this is the original Flying Horse roastery and window hatch. Opened in 2018 at Mare Street Market, Flying Horse does hot coffee and cool bakes. Sure, the other branches might be bigger, but this OG spot is ideal for a grab and go situation. 

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Fitzrovia

A cute mini chain with two locations in Fitzrovia, as well as King's Cross, Richmond and Shoreditch, this speciality coffee brand serves up ethically-sourced coffees in demure pine-clad rooms. Their cake and cookie game is also on point – another slice of chocolate banana bread with your flat white? Don't mind if I do...

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Loft Coffee Company
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Finchley Road

Diminutive in stature but huge in quality, this dinky coffee shop from Seoul-born Sungjae Lee is all about well-sourced espresso and its brewed derivatives, with beans from trusted names such as Square Mile. Back-up comes from a modest assortment of pastries and other edible bits ’n’ pieces – including brunch at the weekends. It also has an unusual range of kombucha drinks an is handily located next to Finchley Road tube.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Camberwell

Coffee, craftsmanship and community come together at Lumberjack, a dinky Camberwell café stuffed full of hand-printed tea towels, ceramic mugs and craft furniture. Naturally, this ethos extends to the coffee and tea (from Brixton-based Assembly and Good & Proper respectively), while the food is honest-to-goodness artisan stuff: soups, sharing boards, salads, and fancy cakes. Local mums, freelancers and art students love the vibe.

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  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • London Bridge

Want coffee on the go? Three Wheels is, quite literally, a tricycle where you pick up your drinks. They have two locations, one in London Bridge Station and one in the Shard Arcade, which serve rich and aromatic coffee from South America. The morning rush can cause queues, but their iced Americano is the perfect wake-up call in hot weather. Staff are upbeat, lifting moods with a positive vibes playlist.

Serra Uner Contributing writer
Old Spike Roastery
  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Peckham

Peckham’s coffee roastery started in 2014 but soon opened its doors to enthusiastic coffee-loving locals who still drop by for that freshly roasted espresso experience, interesting filter brews and seasonal, single-origin beans. Artisan hot chocolate and teas from Good & Proper are also on offer, but why pick anything else when the coffee’s this good? Old Spike has a social conscience too, training and employing homeless people across its business.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Holborn
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Renowned for its devotion to artisan coffee, this spacious and bright café is one of London’s best and is equally distinguished when it comes to hand-brewed filter-type options or espresso (beans come from Square Mile and other famous roasters). Food-wise, expect classic upscale brunch fare, although Prufrock really scores with its homemade cakes – check out the counter display.

Stir Coffee
  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Brixton

Properly passionate about coffee, this cheery corner café in Brixton is the real deal with its single-estate beans and global guests brewed up with just the right amount of obsession. Big windows let in lots of light, while the back room has all the hipster trimmings (bare bricks, bare light bulbs and so on). Over-the-counter food includes brioche buns stuffed with bacon and brie, quiches, pastries and gluten-free cakes.

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